A tiny housing community will be built in Gosford, NSW for the homeless to live in low-cost rental accommodation on public land by the end of the year.
The prototype 800sqm development from the Tiny House Foundation has already been approved the by local council, who also provided the two-year lease on the site that is 500 metres from the train station and next to the local hospital.
“So there will be four individual homes of roughly 14sqm each. They’ve (each) got a kitchen, bathroom, living area and sleeping (area), obviously. There is a separate building that will be a shared laundry and another building that will be a general purpose meeting area/tv room/internet ,” says foundation CEO David Wooldridge.
The foundation, which was set up 18 months ago, aims to help eradicate homelessness by increasing the supply of affordable housing for those at the lowest end of the market.
The Gosford project is the group’s first development and they hope to build the homes in the next few months and want tenants found through service provider Pacific Link, to move in by Christmas.
Each of the single-level units has a passive solar design, with room to add a mezzanine level for a second sleeping area. There will also be a small communal garden for the tenants to grow plants and vegetables.
The six tiny units will have steel frames with timber floors and colorbond roofs, with Wooldridge estimating the construction cost will be at around $30,000 per unit.
Licensed builders from Tafe Outreach and The Skills Generator will oversee the construction with the help of volunteers, work for the dole recipients and potential residents. The construction process will provide these helpers with on the job training and skill accreditation.
The units will be rented out at a low cost to the tenants at a rate yet to be determined, and there will also be a partial equity scheme that will allow tenants to build up funds over time.
“In simple terms whatever the weekly rental payment is, the amount that’s not actually spent on site maintenance, service provision costs and covering repayment toward the cost of the build will be credited to each tenant. So that effectively, part of their rent money won’t be dead money,” Wooldridge says.
“Hopefully, as they progress and get back on their feet and they move into the next level of housing options for them, they can take that money and apply it to housing-specific needs whether that be a bond on the next place or paying for a (new) fridge, washing machine.”
Gosford Council has also provided a second site for the group which is likely to become the group’s second project next year, but right now getting the Gosford tiny house.
“Our focus is to prove this concept (low-cost tiny houses for the homeless) and get this one done in a really excellent way. So that no only is it of benefit to the initial tenants and ongoing, but we prove that the model works and then other people can take it, utlitise it, develop it, copy it, whatever they need,” he says.
Date: 16th August 2016
Author: Danielle Cahill